From the outset, even the smallest start-up is reliant on an IT infrastructure. Digital technology cannot be avoided. For small-to medium-sized businesses, developing and bringing on staff to support that IT infrastructure is often a low priority compared to ramping up operations and meeting the revenues goals necessary to stay operational. Resources to address IT needs may not be available (for at least, perceived to be unavailable) Management is focussed on revenue growth and meeting operational and business requirements. Management may also be incentivized to direct available funds in these directions, rather than building out a robust and sufficiently risk averse IT infrastructure. Also, management may not have the background that provides sufficient experience to identify areas where IT staffing is necessary to maintain a stable and sustainable business.
In a small- to medium-sized business beginning to explore the development of an IT support staff, or even in a large organization undergoing significant transformation, there may be a tendency to begin the process of IT staffing with a top level individual–a CTO, IT director or IT manager. Once hired, that individual would be relied on to begin the process of building out an IT staff.
Problems facing organizations: initiating an IT staff build-out
For any organization, from a small firm looking to bring on its first dedicated IT staffer to a large organization, there are a number of hurdles that may be encountered. One of the most immediate is the shortage of available IT professionals. No matter what your needs, it may be difficult to find appropriately skilled applicants to meet your staffing requirements. This may mean that following the top-down development model may cause risky delays in your goal of protecting and securing the IT infrastructure needed to remain competitive. The job market in IT is especially competitive. This is just one reason we are suggesting that you consider setting aside the top-down build-out model and take a different approach.
Another reason that the top-down model may be problematic, especially for small- to medium-sized businesses, is that it may be a little too “perfect.” When resources for IT staffing are limited, creating the IT department that covers everything can be unrealistic. Creating this traditional model takes time and resources to make sure you have the IT support that possesses all the diverse skills needed to meet the many requirements of a sound IT infrastructure. As a result, this model may not truly meet the immediate/urgent needs of a developing or transforming organization. As ever, the perfect may be the enemy of the good.
So how does a firm looking to strengthen its IT infrastructure and protect itself from vulnerabilities–from cyber attack to single point of failure– protect itself? Lack of available applicants and limits make traditional build outs unrealistic. And will also take too long to address urgent needs.
In our next blog post we discuss a value based approach